Becoming a Person of Spiritual Wisdom

Among the several books I read over the Christmas season was the story of an interesting journey about learning and living a different and deeper way: “The Teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Casdaneda. 


The author’s intent was to offer lessons on how to live a “Yaqui” way of  life. The Yaquis are an indigenous people of Mexico who live in the valley of Rio Yaqui in the Mexican state of Sonora, and in parts of the Southwestern United States. They are a “Uto-Aztecan” speaking “nation” and are the only “non-native” Indians in Arizona. Some refer to them as the “Apache” of Mexico because of their strong resistance to “outsiders” coming onto their land. Others refer to them as the “Fighting Farmers of Mexico” due to their reliance on an agricultural economy for subsistence. 


The Yaquis are indeed an interesting people with some compelling aspects to their culture and way of life. But as I read deeper and deeper into the story of Carlos Castaneda, I realized that his story had a much broader application. Many of the lessons Castaneda was teaching in his book were much more universal and spiritual then even he thought. 


As an example of this more universal teaching, I am going to extrapolate from some of the lessons in his book and rework them so that non-Yaquis like me and you can actually come to understand better the challenges we face in our own quest for the spiritual life. Below are my words laid on top of Castanedo’s story so that the meaning and significance of his lessons become relevant and inspirational for our own stories. And, with that as an introduction, I present for you my first lesson on “Becoming a Person of Spiritual Wisdom.



Lesson 1: 7 Important Concepts in Becoming a Person of Spiritual Wisdom


If I haven’t explained it well enough to you yet, let me first say that all of my preaching and teaching and counseling and devotions are all about one thing: to show you, and me, how to become a person with spiritual wisdom. To me, this is the starting goal for anyone pursuing a Christ-like life and calling themselves a follower of Jesus. Without spiritual wisdom, it is not possible to absorb, interpret, or understand what the teachings of Jesus and scripture mean.


And, when we lack spiritual wisdom, we rely on our own, or another person’s, knowledge about these things. That leaves out the one and only “teacher” that Jesus says we need – the teacher He left for us as our new “friend” – the teacher that He says will teach us everything we need to know! You see, when we rely on our own knowledge, we leave out the power of the Holy Spirit.


Whether you have ever thought about it or yet realized it, your religious life is intertwined with, and dependent upon, your spiritual wisdom. Many religious leaders, churches, and denominational principles and practices minimize, or completely ignore, this amazing, transformative, enlightening teacher called the Holy Spirit. In its place, they substitute their own human knowledge, which again, as Jesus teaches us, is “foolish in the eyes of God” and to the way of Jesus. Maybe you’ve noticed that I feel so strongly about this as to call out at times the misguided and heretical view of Jesus and the Bible that so many human religious teachers offer. 


My brothers and sisters in Christ: getting to know Jesus is not something you or anyone else is capable of without the power of the Holy Spirit. As humans, learning and accepting that truth is one of the simplest and hardest teachings in our effort to live like Jesus. We are not intellectually or emotionally equipped to accomplish what we so desire and need – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only when we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit can we begin to “see” all that God has done for us, and what that means for how we are called by Jesus to live. No one – only the Holy Spirit – can do that. And for that to happen, we must surrender our own need to understand these universal and eternal lessons so that the Holy Spirit can enter into our hearts and lead our intellect to these otherworldly truths that can save us, revive us, resurrect us, and make us true disciples! This is Lesson 1! 


If we all can come to accept this as our first truth about God … our fundamental understanding of who Jesus is and what it all means … then we have made the most important discovery in our whole life. We (all of us) are spiritual beings created by God with a divine (otherworldly) capacity to live as a “Godly person” in this world. But nothing in this world is able to teach us that truth. It is beyond this world because it is directly from God. Your truth is not determined by the world. It is determined by God and consummated when we let go of our egotistical belief that we can figure it all out and be in charge of our own spiritual life. The truth is; God has already figured it all out, and God wants to be in charge of our spiritual life. Agree and accept that, and you are on your way! 


I will end Lesson 1 with the 7 concepts that are critical to our efforts to become a person of spiritual wisdom … for the rest of our lives. Here they are:


  1. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom is a matter of learning.
  2. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom requires an “unbending intent.” 
  3. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom brings clarity to your mind. 
  4. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom is a matter of strenuous labor. 
  5. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom makes you a spiritual “warrior.” 
  6. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom is an unceasing process.
  7. Becoming a person of spiritual wisdom requires an “ally” – known to us as the Holy Spirit. 


These are the themes of a person on the spiritual path. I wonder whether you relate to any of them, or all of them perhaps. Can you see these concepts working in your life … in your own quest to become a person of spiritual wisdom? 


We will continue this journey into spirituality next week, when I will focus more deeply on these 7 concepts, so that we can better understand what the spiritual life requires of us and how we can best grow and flourish as we walk together toward Jesus and His truth. 


Until then, spend this week thinking about this stuff! It may be the most important thing I have ever written … or at least written this year! 


Blessings on your new year, and your new life. 2021 is here … and so is the Holy Spirit. The only question is how much of your life this year will be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit …


Pastor Bob <><